With the rollout of the boogeyman himself, Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda made its final campaign push Friday to impact Sunday’s elections in Germany. His reappearance capped a busy day for the terror network’s marketing team which saw the release of three videos in rapid succession on the militant forums. All of the products either carried German subtitles or featured German speakers. Although the tapes have led to a surge in interest and news coverage inside Germany, the propaganda ploy appears to be failing to scare voters away from reelecting Angela Merkel.
The chart above shows the localized search volume index and news reference volume in Germany for four terms, “Merkel,” “Steinmeier,” “bin Laden,” and “Abu Talha” (aka Harrach), between Aug. 28 and Sept. 26. In other words, the chart represents the number of times the tracked terms have been searched in Google by Web surfers in Germany and have appeared in German news articles spidered by Google News. The chart shows interest in Merkel not only outpacing interest in her opponent, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, but spiking over 300 percent on Friday. By all reports, she is coasting to reelection. The impact of the series of al Qaeda videos is also clearly visible; however, the data suggests that the statements have had little staying power. Both bin Laden’s video and Harrach’s Sept. 17 video show a sudden surge in interest that drops just as quickly. The chart does show that Harrach has gained traction in news coverage by releasing a series of messages over the past week, but the coverage does not appear to have affected his search volume.
Included in the collection of videos that were released on Friday was a 12-minute product that showed training and campfire scenes at a terror camp run by “Deutsche Taliban Mujahidin” or German Taliban Mujahideen. The video, “Der Ruf zur Wahrheit” (The Call to Truth), was produced by Elif Medya, which is associated with the Islamic Jihad Union and usually publishes material in Turkish, and appears to be a recruitment product. Interestingly, the video featured a German-speaking jihadi named “Abu Ajjub” and showed clips of an alleged jihadi named “Abu Ibrahim al Amriki.” Sporting cheap sunglasses, glistening bald head, and chiseled features, al-Amriki appears to be accompanied by an interpreter in one scene. This is his first known appearance in a propaganda product.